When Someone Takes Credit for Your Work

It happens much more than we’d like – we do all the work and someone else, usually a boss or colleague with more seniority or the person who ends up making the presentation – gets all the credit. Here’s what to do when someone takes all the credit for your great idea.

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When it’s a Supervisor

In seeking appropriate credit for your idea or work, you need to tread carefully. First of all, collaboration and teamwork are highly valued in business today, and someone who is intent on claiming credit may run the risk of not appearing to be a team player.

It is best to choose your battles wisely. Sometimes, for example, it is better for a supervisor to take over an idea in order to give it more exposure in the company and push it to company leadership. Focus on instances where your contribution was clearly pivotal to a project and important enough to possibly impact your career progression, where recognition is clearly warranted.

If your manager has been taking credit when he should not, it’s best to start documenting everything when working with him so that there is a record of your work and contribution.

After meeting with the supervisor, send a follow up email summarizing your conversation and make reference to your idea or work in the message by saying that you appreciate the opportunity to put your idea into action or, for example, take the lead on the project.

If you feel that a more direct approach is needed, here again, tact is called for. Making accusations is simply counterproductive. You need to show how giving credit benefits the team, your supervisor and the business. For example, one good business reason for giving credit is that it enhances morale, employee engagement and productivity.

But if you have a supervisor who is constantly touting your ideas as his own and refuses to give you credit for your work, the best course of action may be to look for another job. You need to ask yourself, is this really the kind of person you want to work for?

Good managers do the exact opposite because they know how important it is to employee morale. They are more than happy to offer praise and recognition to workers who have made important contributions.

When a Coworker Steals Your Rightful Thunder

You’re on a more or less level playing field here and so can assert your rights more actively. If you are working with a person who steals credit, again make sure to keep a record of who contributed what in a project. Don’t share ideas with the person when you are alone with him.

You also can set some conditions when working with him. For example, you can say you will only work on the project with him if you present it.

If the coworker steals credit constantly and deliberately, take the problem to your supervisor. Frame the issue as a teamwork problem — explain how his or her actions are affecting the working relationships among team members and needlessly causing friction.

How Important Receiving Credit When Credit – to You – is Due?

Again: maintain perspective and remember why you seek credit – to advance your career. But you may be working at a company where who gets credit isn’t an issue: whether you get credit or not has no impact on your career progression or promotion at the company. In a case like this, it may not even be worth worrying about.

Give Credit to Colleagues

If you expect to receive credit for your work, you should be willing to set an example and give credit to others when they deserve it. If you make a practice of recognizing others, they are less likely to harbor negative feelings toward you when you seek credit for yourself.

Helpmates has many job opportunities for Orange County and Los Angeles residents. Take a look at our current openings and if one or more look interesting to you, follow application instructions or contact the branch office nearest you.

 

When You’re Really Asked to Do the Job to Get the Job

It’s fairly common these days for companies to ask job candidates to perform some task or do some assignment to showcase their skills. This is a perfectly reasonable request. In fact, it is a good idea for employers to ask for evidence of a candidate’s work to really see what he or she can do. It helps the employer make better decisions on whom to hire.

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Such tryouts give a more complete picture of a job candidate’s abilities, which might not be evident from just an interview. Conversely, there are people who interview well, but may not have the skillset that is required.

But when it comes to tryouts, there is a troubling trend that has been developing. Instead of some concise task or brief assignment, companies are increasingly asking job candidates to undertake lengthy and more complicated assignments, ones that demand a good deal of time and effort.

Important note: We have talked in the past about “doing the job to get the job” as a way of standing out among a sea of similar candidates. But when we recommend you do it, it’s voluntary, something you do on your own initiative.

Or, if you are asked to create a specific type of document or complete a short project, we recommend that you take it upon yourself to do more than is asked of you: write three social media plans rather than one; create two newsletter templates than just two.

How can you tell when you’re basically being asked to work for free? Some examples:

For example, an event planner was asked by a company to submit not one but three proposals for events that covered every aspect of the affair, including things like budgets, marketing, staffing and design. The company expected candidates to finish this assignment within seven days.

Another job candidate was asked to produce a 30-minute learning video, with voice over, discussion, graphics, and other features, a job that would normally take about 30 hours of work and cost several thousand dollars.

Assignments like these are asking for much more than is needed to judiciously evaluate a job candidate’s skills.

Candidates may sometimes be uncertain whether a particular job tryout is going over the line. If you are unsure, consider the time and effort you need to put into a project. A guideline some career counselors recommend is that if an assignment takes more than three hours, the job candidate should be paid for it.

The purpose of a short assignment is to assess how you think, your analytical ability and creativity. Longer assignments are generally tasks someone is hired to do because of their expertise, in other words, more what an employee does.

Remember: There is no legal way for an employer to ask you to work without paying you. Any employer that does so is breaking the law.

What You Can Do

If you are a job candidate and encounter a tryout request that seems unreasonable, what recourse do you have? One option is to walk away. And this is something to consider because an employer who would make an unreasonable tryout request may have unreasonable expectations for the job itself.

If, however, you cannot afford to take yourself out of consideration, you can also try negotiating with the employer. One way of doing this is to suggest a more streamlined version of the assignment, one that is no more than an hour or two. Or you could simply offer to provide a portfolio of your work.

Possibly the Worst of the Worst: Manipulators

While some employers are simply inconsiderate – or ill-informed as to the law – in expecting job candidates to complete long and involved assignments, others have a more underhanded motive: getting something for nothing. They have no intention of using the work to gauge a person’s qualifications, but rather to get a service for free.

There are a few telltale signs that you may be the victim of this type of manipulation. One is receiving an assignment several days after an initial interview without any prior notice or follow up plans. Another is being asked to put together a detailed strategy or redesign, or to write a full article or presentation. If the company is genuinely interested in your qualifications, the assignment will usually involve some hypothetical situation.

We understand why you may be afraid to say no to a potential employer, but do be careful. As mentioned above, any employer who requires you to do hours of work without compensation more than likely really is not a good employer. Run away. Fast!

If you need to find work quickly, consider registering here with us at Helpmates. You can work on temporary assignments with us while you look for other work. What’s more, many temporary assignments do turn into more permanent work.

Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you, or take a look at our current opportunities and if any appeal to you, follow the instructions for applying.

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